Berkshire Hills eyes hybrid reopening model, but teachers wary

Superintendent Peter Dillon said Berkshire Hills Regional School District has received two U.S. Department of Justice grants totaling $817,000 for building safety, mental health, anti-bullying and anti-racism work. “It’s a pretty big deal,” he said.

STOCKBRIDGE — In what might be its largest competitive award ever, the Berkshire Hills Regional School District has received a combined $817,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice for building safety, mental health, anti-bullying and anti-racism work.

The district had applied for the two, three-year grants and received notice of the award in May. At the Oct. 22 School Committee meeting, Superintendent Peter Dillion said he had not yet had a chance to announce it publicly due to the pandemic.

Dillon said that one grant is to improve building safety, and will likely include the purchase of an app for students to report incidents, as well as professional development for staff.

The other grant will fund programs for mental health, anti-bullying, anti-racism and anti-harassment.

The district will ask for community help to advise on how to spend the money.

He said the DOJ will share more details about the grant in the coming months so the district can “fine-tune” its plans as it receives the funds.

The district got two of only four DOJ grants awarded in the state; the other districts are in Worcester and Brockton.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Dillon said.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or 413-329-6871. On Twitter @BE_hbellow.